Covid has accelerated businesses focus on workplace wellbeing

A major survey by Ibec has revealed that Covid-19  has catalysed the focus on workplace wellbeing.

Business group Ibec has revealed that wellbeing initiatives are being embedded into the overall business strategies of organisations across Ireland.

As part of a survey ahead of the lobby group’s KeepWell Virtual Summit today (24 June), the Ibec study found that of the 242 HR professionals who responded, there was a very high level of support for wellbeing at senior leadership level in their organisations (81pc).

“Mental and physical wellbeing initiatives will increasingly become a major factor in individuals’ decision on where they work”

The findings of the survey also show that 44pc of organisations have explicitly called out wellbeing in their overall business strategy in 2021, compared to 26pc last year.

“In the new world of work that is emerging in the post-Covid landscape, attraction and retention of talent has never been so important,” said Sharon Higgins, Ibec director of Membership and Sectors.

“Mental and physical wellbeing initiatives will increasingly become a major factor in individuals’ decision on where they work. 

“It is encouraging to note from the survey findings that there is notable commitment from over three quarters (76pc) of organisations to increase workplace wellbeing initiatives available to employees over the next two to three years. This highlights that, not only has Covid catalysed the focus of wellbeing in the business community, but that it is becoming an integral pillar within organisational culture.”

Return to office strategies

Higgins said that as our ways of working continue to evolve and businesses look towards their return to office strategies, line managers are key to promoting a workplace culture conducive to employee’s mental health and overall wellbeing.

“This is reflected in the fact that 74pc of those surveyed expect an increased focus on management skills in managing employee mental health over the next two to three years.

“While these findings reflect positive developments, more still needs to be done. Ibec’s survey found that only 40pc of those companies engaging in wellbeing initiatives had formal evaluation systems in place to assess the impact of such programmes.”  

Key findings of the survey include:

  • 65pc of organisations had a dedicated team or individual responsible for wellbeing, versus 44pc in 2020; 
  • 65pc of respondents had a wellbeing communications plan for employees, versus 44pc in 2020;
  • 64pc of respondents reported on wellbeing initiatives to senior management;
  • 46pc had a specific budget for wellbeing initiatives, versus 27pc in 2020;
  • 41pc had a defined wellbeing strategy, versus 31pc in 2020. 

Some of the initiatives least likely to be in place in respondent companies included: contributing to the cost of fertility treatment for employees (85pc); providing supports for surrogacy (73pc); providing for fertility leave for employees (69pc); menopause information and support (55pc); mental health apps (50pc); mental health first aider training (49pc); domestic abuse supports (45pc); and, supports towards smoking cessation (42pc).

By John Kennedy (

Published: 24 June 2021